Social issues on social media: When to take a stand

Companies and brands have grown more involved in social issues in recent times, spurred on by rising public support for a variety of causes and concerns. The growth of social media, with its ability to create more personal connections between businesses and customers than was possible with mass media, has played a key role in this transition.

Effective, relevant, thoughtfully planned, and thoroughly considered stances on social issues shared through social media can help to build connections with clients and prospects. However, a rushed response or messaging viewed as tone-deaf or inflammatory can cause a wide variety of problems. All businesses that want to share their values and establish positions on key issues need to approach this concept carefully, taking a variety of perspectives into account, and considering how taking a stand can impact their operations.

district listening

Taking a position on relevant issues is a positive

“A significant majority want businesses to take stands on relevant social issues.”

Action on social issues through social networks is one of the top marketing trends of 2021, as identified by AdWeek. Employees, customers, and prospects have each played roles in advancing this trend, all of whom are key to continued success. It’s important that companies recognize the influence of these groups and respond accordingly.

While every company needs to consider its own industry, structure, issues of core concern, client base, and many other unique factors, there are some important and broadly applicable findings that can help to build a basic strategy. Sprout Social conducted a survey of U.S. consumers to understand attitudes, opinions, and preferences when it comes to business, social issues, and social media.

Key takeaways include a general approval of businesses taking a stance on current events and issues, with 66% of respondents agreeing that this action is important. Additionally, social is the preferred method for such messaging, with 58% of respondents agreeing on this combination of channel and topic. Relevancy is another key concern. In general, an audience will be more receptive to a business that makes a statement or takes a stand if the issue involved affects the company’s customers, staff, and function.

Guidance on when and how to take a stand

For edtech companies, the world of education is clearly the most relevant area of discussion when it comes to social issues and taking a stand on them. Education professionals enter this field at least in part to support effective learning and the positive development of students, which means they already have a deep interest in events and concerns that can impact their profession and the learners in their care.

For increased impact and alignment with an audience’s key areas of interest, edtech companies can look to:

  • The types of students their products and services support.
  • The geographical areas in which their products are most popular or frequently purchased.
  • The roles of the education professionals who select, approve the purchase of, and utilize their offerings.

While selecting a specific position on a given issue requires careful consideration at the individual level, your business can look toward emphasizing broadly positive traits like compassion and respect for education professionals and students. Asking how a given issue negatively or positively affects the people who use your products, as well as your own staff, can be a good place to start.

Effectively connecting with your audience

Tapping into current marketing trends, even when they are as potentially complicated as taking a stance on social issues, is an important consideration for edtech businesses.

To build strong connections with your intended audience on all levels, your company needs a deep understanding of who they are, what they do, and where they work. Agile’s EdIntel offers an insight into district listening to provide detailed and current information about many aspects of education including what is in use in terms of SIS, LMS, devices, learning platforms, and more.